Mask (Dagak)

Kanak people

Not on view

Its deeply sculpted features and prominent bulbous nose indicate that this mask was probably made on northern Grande Terre Island in New Caledonia. Like all Kanak masks, the eyes are not pierced. The wearer looked out through the mouth, depicted in a toothsome grin. Masks were worn as part of elaborate costumes that concealed the wearer’s identity. In northern Grande Terre, masks were associated with the lives and authority of chiefs, who wore them at important gatherings. Clad in the elaborate mask and costume, the chief brandished a spear and other weapons,
with which he ceremonially threatened the surrounding crowd. In the mourning rites of chiefs, masked dancers appeared as substitutes for the deceased.

#1738. Mask (Dagak)

Mask (Dagak), Wood, paint, Kanak people

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